Iran sentences Iranian 'Israeli spy' to death
An Iranian death sentence, with the title of Gabriel García Márquez's novel "Chronicle of a Death Foretold".
A Tehran court sentenced an Iranian man to death on charges of spying for Israel, the Iranian news agency ISNA reported on Monday.
The defendant, Ali Ashtari, 43, a Muslim who owns an electronics import business, was arrested about 18 months ago by the Iranian Intelligence. Once the prosecution presented the court with various wiretapping equipment allegedly used by Ashtari in his espionage activities, he reportedly confessed, pled guilty on all charges and expressed remorse for his actions.
According to him, "The Mossad wanted to use me to sell marked goods to the Iranian Intelligence." He told the court he had contact with three Mossad agents, " Jacques, Charles and Tony," and that they met several times, in Thailand, Turkey and Switzerland.
The three apparently presented themselves as bankers who worked for the Fortis Bank (a Belgium bank ranked among Europe’s top 20 financial institutions), and told him they were interested in exploring a business venture.
The three offered him an unofficial loan – "which struck me as odd" – and proceeded to give him a laptop – "which could send and receive encrypted email" – as well as two DSL (Digital Subscriber Line) devices with a satellite hookup, "to give to my Iranian clients. I think those were wired."
Iran arrested eight Iranian Jews four years ago, for reportedly belonging to an Israeli espionage network. In 1998, Iranian Intelligence arrested shoe salesman Daniel Tephilin for supposedly running an espionage network out of the southern Iranian city of Shiraz.